Some say retail is dead. Gucci proves otherwise. Last night, the powerhouse brand opened their 63 Wooster SoHo outpost with an 80s decadence that oozed nouveau bohemian and retro cool at once. Under the helm of Alessandro Michele, the 10,000 square-foot space, a 155 year-old former pencil factory, is dripping with the creative director’s signature creative spirit fused with experiential, interactive high tech. The floors, hand painted by Italian artisans, evoke picturesque swirls of color. Tin ceilings and restored brickwork lend to an aura of antiquity. Lush seating, swathed in Gucci prints and rich textiles, provide opulence that has an artistic dialog with the cast-iron architecture and vintage pharmacy fixtures.
And then there’s the merch. Fine jewelry. Turbans. Home design. Of course, the clothes, bags and shoes. PSA: it’s the first location to offer the Dapper Dan collection (the Harlem 80s icon was on hand in a snazzy three-piece suit and shades). “Gucci Connectors” (the new incarnation of sales people are more “storytellers” who extend the brand narrative in a personal way). Enormous LED screens project 3D video (currently screening, artist Wu Tsang’s short that celebrates electro music and rave culture of the 80s). The DIY station is fueled by AR so shoppers can see what their creations will look like. A gallery-style space in the back of the store will be reserved for curatorial moments. Last night’s was a performance by Brooklyn punk band Surfbot, whose lead singer donned a mullet and swimsuit).
Artist sightings included Maurizio Cattelan, Tschabalala Self, Lucien Smith. Rihanna, A$AP Rocky, Petra Collins, Selah Marley, Jared Leto, Paris Jackson, Salma Hayek and Alexa Chung reveled along with the Lower East Side pack of emerging creatives over Odeon burgers and fries.
The retail bar has been raised. And plenty of sneakers were sold.